The Hamilton Minor Midget Cardinals travelled to Wheeling, West Virginia for the 23rd annual Beast of the East tournament held June 29 to July 3 and advanced all the way the championship game. Hamilton lost that contest 10-5 and finished the tourney with a 5-3 record.
The tournament featured 42 of the top teams from the Midwestern and Eastern U.S. and Ontario.
The Cards started Day 1 with a 4-3 extra innings victory over JABC from Ohio, with Adam Rossit hitting a homerun and driving in three runs. In their second game of the opening day, Hamilton took a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Revolution. Hamilton pitcher Hayden Waselynchuk throw a complete game five hitter.
Day 2 was equally successful with Hamilton defeating Ohio Base-A-Ball, 14-1, on the strength of another Rossit HR and four RBI performance. Hamilton concluded the day by defeating the Cincinnati Mustangs, 6-2, with Cards’ pitcher Matt Humble throwing a complete game and catcher Daniel Krasulja driving in three runs.
On Day 3 Hamilton fell 13-4 to the hard hitting KOA Warriors from Washington, D.C. David Vanderby had two hits and scored two runs in the loss. The Cards sixth and final game of round robin play came against Chartiers Valley from Pittsburgh. The game saw the lead change hands several times before Hamilton finally fell, 7-6, as a late rally fell just short. Hamilton first baseman Willie Pettener went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI in the loss.
On the strength of a 4-2 record, Hamilton received a bye into the semi-finals and faced the White Marsh Warriors from Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. With the Cards trailing 7-0 going into the bottom of the fourth, designated hitter Adam Prodeus drove in two runs with a double to cap an amazing seven run rally to tie the game. The game remained that way until a curfew forced Texas Shootout rules. In the shootout, Hamilton pitcher Matt Humble was able to shut down White Marsh retiring all three batters he faced. Hamilton first baseman Ryan Hare won the game with his third hit of the day, a bases loaded walk-off single that gave the Cards an 8-7 victory and a place in the final.
In the final, held Sunday night, Hamilton fell 10-5 to another offensive power, the Celtic Knights from Pittsburgh. Rossit had three hits and hit his third HR of the tournament in the loss.
The Hamilton Minor Midget Cardinals face another big test when they travel to Indianapolis in a week for the Butler/Indy Finish Line National Championships held from July 14-17 at Butler University.